U.S. Sen. Patty Murray from Bothell teamed up with some Seattle Sounders Women players today to celebrate 40 years of Title IX, which allowed women equal access to athletic opportunities.
Murray, Sounders players Megan Rapinoe, Stephanie Cox and Sydney Leroux and one Garfield High student-athlete spoke to a crowd of female athletes this afternoon at Garfield High.
"Forty years ago, 37 words threw open the doors to athletics, education and success for millions of young women in our country," Murray said.
Title IX reads:
No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.
"That law was simple, it was powerful and it has delivered amazing results. Over the past 40 years, participation in girls high-school sports has increased over 900 percent. We went from 32,000 women who were participating in college athletics in 1972, when I was in college, to almost 200,000 today," Murray added. "In 1972, fewer than 300,000 women across the country played competitive sports. Forty years since this law has passed, today this number is approaching 3 million."
Rapinoe (speaking above), who has played for the U.S. Women's World Cup squad, grew up in the small town of Redding, Calif., and had to travel to Sacramento to play for a premier team while in high school.
She said that her parents made the commitment to her soccer career, hoping that it would lead her to college (University of Portland) and possibly beyond.
"I think Title IX to me means the opportunity of having new doors opened, and having doors opened that I didn't even know existed or that I could see but just didn't really know how to get to," said Rapinoe, who has enjoyed traveling the world and meeting thousands of people. "(It's crucial) Having the opportunity to have an education. Maybe I'm not using my degree as it stands right now, because I'm playing football, but in the future, I'll need that."